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AMM
June 1, 2015
By Janie Davies

Silicomanganese shutdowns offset by weak demand

LONDON—The impact of silicomanganese production cuts on global supply has been offset by falling demand from the steel sector, according to International Manganese Institute (IMnI) data.

Global silicomanganese production totaled 755,000 tonnes in February, down 7 percent from the previous month and 19 percent from a year earlier, while demand totaled 749,000 tonnes, down 11 percent from January and 23 percent from February last year.

The global surplus narrowed to 6,000 tonnes in February from 29,600 tonnes the previous month, but the lack of fresh spot demand and high inventories helped explain why the tighter supply has not been felt and why prices have weakened in the North American and European markets. Silicomanganese in North America is in a range of 50 to 52 cents per pound, according to AMM's most recent assessment, its lowest level since trading in a range of 49 to 51 cents per pound in September 2013 ( amm.com, Sept. 20,2013).

"Silicomanganese production dropped in February, particularly in China due to a slowing demand from the steel sector combined with high electricity tariffs in the south of the country, and ample stocks," the IMnI said. "Silicomanganese production also declined in Western Europe."

Production in the Americas rose 13 percent compared with a year earlier as Brazil's power-related production shutdowns were more than offset by increased output elsewhere in the region, but demand in the Americas fell 32 percent.

Letart, W.Va.-based supplier Felman Production LLC said this past week that it had no immediate plans to bring the second furnace at its New Haven, W.Va., silicomanganese plant back online, attributing the continued idling to current market conditions (amm.com, May 26).